In 2011, I attended an informational meeting conducted by Snack Pak 4 Kids founder, Dyron Howell. After hearing his presentation about the effects weekend hunger had on students in our city, I was all in.
Because of the size of Polk Street United Methodist, I asked Dyron after the meeting to give us the biggest school. At the time, it was San Jacinto Elementary School. Every Friday, we began bringing about 70 Snack Paks to the school and were allowed to take them inside the classrooms, which opened the door for relationships with both students and teachers.
Miles Neely and I are the regular “Friday Snack Pak guys.” Now in our seventh year, we deliver around 245 Snack Paks a week. Every second Saturday, we pack the bags for the month at the church with 20 to 30 volunteers from our congregation. We buy our supplies from the main vendor for Snack Pak 4 Kids and pick up the items at the Snack Pak warehouse.
To date, we have spent about $117,000 for this outreach. Not one dollar has come from our general church budget. Every cent has been given above and beyond regular church gifts!
Back in 2011, I had no idea that this one ministry outreach would develop into an amazing partnership with San Jacinto Elementary School. We have committed to support the school in every way.
Our members write letters of encouragement to the staff at the beginning of each school year. We hire Roasters Coffee & Tea to set up their coffee cart three times a year for staff members. Polk Street pays for and hosts three lunches for the staff at the beginning of the school year, Christmas break, and the last day of school in the spring.
We mentor and tutor students. We help the cafeteria serve the annual Thanksgiving lunch for students and their families. And, we furnish food items for the Fall Tailgate party and college memorabilia for four of the classrooms supporting San Jacinto’s No Excuses University.
Our church has absolutely fallen in love with the students, staff, and parents of San Jacinto Elementary School. It is my favorite place to go during my week as a pastor of our church.
My life has been forever changed by seeing the dedication of the staff, the student’s lives impacted, and the gratitude and appreciation of their families through this partnership. I truly thank God for giving Polk Street United Methodist Church this tremendous blessing!
Kevin Deckard has been an associate pastor at Polk Street United Methodist Church for 11 years. He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Becky, for 40 years. They have two sons, Andrew Deckard and wife Becky, and Nicholas Deckard. His primary responsibilities at the church are mission and outreach as well as pastoral care.
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